New pickups for Squier Jazz Bass?

smigeonsmigeon Frets: 103
edited November 2019 in Bass
I’ve been playing a bit of bass recently using my Squier 70s vintage modified jazz bass in a 3 piece blues/jazz guitar/bass/drums band. I’m really enjoying it, but in the process have been coming aware of the shortcomings of my bass (as well as of my playing :-) ). The bass feels fine to play, but sounds a bit muddy/muffled/indistinct on the bottom two strings. It could also use some more “punch”. I’m using good amplification (a 250 watt solid state amp into a Barefaced one-10), so I’m assuming it’s the pickups rather than the amp/cab.

I’m wondering:

- if others have come to similar conclusions about the pickups on these basses, and, if so
- what pickups do folks here recommend as upgrades?

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Comments

  • The Squier Standard and VM Jazz Bass have been supplied with two main make/models of pickup. Older examples have the Duncan Designed JB-101 pair. In recent years, to keep costs down, the instruments got Fender "in house" designed pickups.

    This photograph may help you to identify which you have.

    https://i.imgur.com/wbodhbh.jpg?2

    smigeon said:
    a bit muddy/muffled/indistinct on the bottom two strings. It could also use some more “punch”. 
    From this description, I suspect that you have the Fender "in house" pickups.
    Be seeing you.
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  • smigeonsmigeon Frets: 103
    edited November 2019
    The Squier Standard and VM Jazz Bass have been supplied with two main make/models of pickup. Older examples have the Duncan Designed JB-101 pair. In recent years, to keep costs down, the instruments got Fender "in house" designed pickups.

    This photograph may help you to identify which you have.
    smigeon said:
    a bit muddy/muffled/indistinct on the bottom two strings. It could also use some more “punch”. 
    From this description, I suspect that you have the Fender "in house" pickups.
    Thanks. Yeah, mine do indeed look like the "in house" Fender ones, I'm afraid. 

    I do like the bass so I'm happy to be reasonably spendy with replacements if it's worthwhile in terms of sound (is there any benefit in also changing the pots and wiring, BTW)? Any recommendations?? 
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 5564
    edited November 2019
    My first recommendation is the DuncDes JB-101 pair. The neck position pickup does the deep sounds. The bridge position pickup is a good percentage hotter à la Jaco Pastorius. Hence, the combination is strong. 

    The resistance tapers on higher quality pots will help with balancing the pickup volumes to get the characteristic "notch filtered" sound.



    smigeon said:
    Squier 70s vintage modified jazz bass
    Which exact variant do you have? The natural finish one in my photograph above has a body made from "soft maple". Some of the later, more colourful, "Seventies" variants use agathis. This may have some bearing on the pickup choice.

    DiMarzio makes some J-type pickups that are loud, noise-cancelling and possess a distinctive "growl" that would suit Rock music. 

    Bartolini pickups have a flavour of their own. Again, some models are noise-cancelling and have increased low frequency output.

    Aguilar, Norstrand and Delano all do some nice pickups. They should be at the prices.

    I am yet to be disappointed by any Seymour Duncan Antiquity pickup - guitar or bass.

    If you fancy going active, designs with rod magnet polepieces will sound more like a Fender bass. The transient attack just works better. EMG-JV and Duncan/Basslines AJJ-2 Lightnin' Rods pickups are like this.

    My personal favourites are the old Seymour Duncan Active EQ series pickups with the little DIP switches built into the top of their plastic covers. (Long since discontinued!) These would provide a variety of bass guitar tones in the J Bass chassis.

    If you fancy going out on a bit of a limb, Ash of Oil City Pickups makes something he calls the Overkill model - designed to impart some of the sound of a well-known, eccentric, Californian manufacturer who is keen on litigation to protect its designs.



    Finally, to keep Bridgehouse from grumbling, I feel obliged to mention this guy and his products.


    Be seeing you.
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 8583
    I've recently upgraded a friend's one of these with a set of EMGs. He got them s/h off ebay for £80 with all the pots etc and I just dropped them in... night and day better sounding. The stock pickups were terrible!
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • If you get some 5mm diameter by 3mm thick neodymium magnets, you can use these to push the pole pieces down (make sure the magnets are the correct way round). You will probably have to move thr pickups lower but this will transform their performance. For about £2.50 for the magnets off eBay, well worth a try although the new tone might be a bit too powerful for some folks.
    I've done this on a 2001 Squier Jazz and a 2018 Squier VM SS Jag and it worked well, although neither sound as good as my Flea Jazz with the as fitted replica 64 pickups.

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  • KoaKoa Frets: 64
    I changed to an old set of active EMG Jazz Bass pickups recently as I wanted the ones I had in my JV for another project. I didn’t expect to like them but they’re actually very nice pickups.
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  • EMG-JV pickups sound very good in the natural finish "soft maple" type Squier VM Jazz Bass like the one in the photograph I posted in November. The overall brightness of the instrument contributes to a versatile overall sound.

    On a 2014 Squier VM Precision Bass, I found the passive EMG-GZR PJ pair work well. EMG offers a passive J pair that should work equally well on a Jazz Bass of equivalent quality.
    Be seeing you.
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